A simpler way to choose the sex of offspring by separating X and Y sperm: Differential gene activity by the two sex chromosomes allows X-bearing sperm to be slowed down

A simple, reversible chemical treatment can segregate X-bearing sperm from Y-bearing sperm, allowing dramatic alteration of the normal 50/50 male/female offspring ratio, according to a new study by Masayuki Shimada and colleagues at Hiroshima University, published on August 13 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology. The study was performed in mice, but the technique is likely to be widely applicable […]

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Birthweight, height together provide insight into future heart health

It’s the proportionately of a newborn — a measure that includes both birthweight and length — that may best tell doctors whether a child is born with an increased risk for heart problems later in life, investigators report. Birthweight, while important, tells only part of the story of fetal growth, while the additional consideration of length, gives a more complete […]

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High-risk pregnancy: The interferon effect: Discovery of a cellular mechanism involved in abnormal placental development during some high-risk pregnancies

High-risk pregnancies occur frequently and may be caused by various factors. It is estimated that 10 to 20% of pregnant women miscarry during their first trimester of pregnancy. Slow fetal growth may also arise as a result of maternal infection with certain microbes, parasites or viruses (such as toxoplasmosis or infection with rubella virus, cytomegalovirus, herpes or Zika) or because […]

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Migraine increases the risk of complications during pregnancy and childbirth

Despite the fact that many women who suffer migraines find that the number and severity of these severe headaches decrease during pregnancy, migraines are now being linked to elevated blood pressure, abortions, caesareans, preterm births and babies with low birth weight. This is documented by an extensive register-based study recently published in the scientific journal Headache and carried out at […]

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New approach uses magnetic beads to treat preeclampsia

Preliminary laboratory tests show that functionalized magnetic beads successfully reduced blood levels of a harmful molecule that is elevated during preeclampsia, according to new research in the American Heart Association’s journal Hypertension. Preeclampsia is a complication of pregnancy characterized by hypertension and kidney dysfunction that affects an estimated 6% — 8% of women in the U.S. who give birth each […]

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Drug can reverse hyperactivity induced by parasitic infection

When rodents get infected by Toxoplasma gondii, the single-celled brain parasite that causes toxoplasmosis, they become hyperactive risk-takers. In findings published this week in mBio, researchers show for the first time that it’s possible to reverse that behavioral change. Surprisingly, the study also showed that the restoration of normal behavior resulted from reducing inflammation — and not from reducing the […]

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Stillbirth threefold increase when sleeping on back in pregnancy

Research spearheaded by a University of Huddersfield lecturer has shown that pregnant women can lower the risk of stillbirth by sleeping on their side and NOT on their back. Now the finding forms part of official NHS guidance designed to bring about reductions in the number of babies who are stillborn in the UK — amounting to nine a day, […]

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Levothyroxine treatment in women with thyroid antibodies may not increase live birth rate

Treating women with thyroid antibodies but a normal thyroid function with a medicine called Levothyroxine does not make them more likely to deliver a live baby, new research led by the University of Birmingham suggests. The research, which was led by researchers from the Institute of Metabolism and Systems Research, Birmingham Clinical Trials Unit, the Institute of Applied Health Research, […]

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Early exposure to pesticides linked to small increased risk of autism spectrum disorder: Findings support efforts to prevent exposure to pesticides during pregnancy

Exposure to common agricultural pesticides before birth and in the first year of life is associated with a small to moderately increased risk of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) compared with infants of women without such exposure, finds a study published in The BMJ today. The researchers say their findings support efforts to prevent exposure to pesticides during pregnancy to protect […]

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Mathematicians reveal secret to human sperm’s swimming prowess

Researchers have discovered what gives human sperm the strength to succeed in the race to fertilise the egg. The researchers, from the universities of York and Oxford, discovered that a reinforcing outer-layer which coats the tails of human sperm is what gives them the strength to make the powerful rhythmic strokes needed to break through the cervical mucus barrier. Only […]

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